Fiji's Prime Minister Appears to Become First World Leader to Congratulate Biden on Election

The prime minister of Fiji appears to have become the first world leader to publicly congratulate former Vice President Joe Biden on his election win despite there being no clear winner in the election as of Saturday morning.

Frank Bainimarama took to Twitter on Saturday to express his well wishes to Biden and called on him to work toward tackling climate change, which is a major problem for his country.

"Congratulations, @JoeBiden," Bainimarama wrote. "Together, we have a planet to save from a #ClimateEmergency and a global economy to build back better from #COVID19. Now, more than ever, we need the USA at the helm of these multilateral efforts (and back in the #ParisAgreement — ASAP!)"

Biden has said he will rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement if he becomes president, saying the U.S. will reverse President Donald Trump's decision to leave the accord immediately after his inauguration.

Bainimarama has been prime minister since 2007, serving as acting prime minister from 2007 to 2014 following a 2006 coup.

Fiji is a nation of islands in the South Pacific and as such it is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and it was the first country to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement.

Bainimarama is not the first world leader to offer congratulations on the outcome of the 2020 election. Prime Minister Janez Janša congratulated President Donald Trump for his victory on November 5.

"It's pretty clear that American people have elected ⁦@realDonaldTrump ⁩ ⁦@Mike_Pence⁩ for #4moreyears," Janša tweeted on Wednesday. "More delays and facts denying from #MSM, bigger the final triumph for #POTUS. Congratulations ⁦@GOP⁩ for strong results across the #US."

Janša's tweet prompted significant criticism from some members of the European Parliament, while his claim that Trump would win the election now appears to have been premature.

Votes are still being counted as Biden enjoys leads over the president in key states with significant attention on Pennsylvania, which Trump won in 2016. No major news outlet has called the race yet, however. Biden currently has 264 electoral college votes to Trump's 214, according to Associated Press' data.

It's common for world leaders to congratulate newly-elected presidents but most heads of government and heads of state have held off as the election hasn't concluded. Once results are clearer, the winning candidate will likely receive a flood of messages on social media.

This is article has been updated to include more background on the prime minister's comments.

Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama
Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama announces the launch of a new initiative on climate change, trade and sustainability during the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations on September 25, 2019 in New York City. Bainimarama seems to be the first head of government to congratulate Biden on winning the election, though results are not yet final. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images